5 Things All Children Need to Succeed
5 Things All Children Need to SucceedAnne Sussman, Director, K-12 Communications
There was nothing but admiration and praise for Alma Powell and her America’s Promise Alliance as she received the College Board Medal for Distinguished Service to Education on Thursday. The medal is the highest honor given to any individual by the College Board, in recognition of outstanding national leadership and service in the advancement of educational opportunity.
Powell, along with her husband Gen. Colin Powell, founded the America’s Promise Alliance in 1997 on the simple yet profound belief that all children are capable of learning and thriving, and that every individual, institution, and sector shares the responsibility of helping all young people succeed. “I’m deeply honored and proud to accept this award on behalf of Colin and the hundreds of partners and thousands of people who are part of [the alliance],” she said.
America’s Promise is actually a collection of five promises — what Powell calls “the original common core” — made to the nation’s children. Every child will have in their lives:
- Caring adults
- A healthy start
- Safe places to learn and play
- An effective education that teaches a marketable skill
- Opportunities to give back to the community
There are more than 700 sites and organizations that have been designated “Promise Places.” These locations, which include schools, churches, community organizations, and businesses, pledge to provide all five promises to young people to ensure their success.
Powell believes that adults outside the family play a big role in shaping the lives of children. “Caring adults are what help the other promises come true,” she said. “And the young people we spoke to were clear: They want us to be involved in their lives.”
She then told the story of a young girl who was part of a group to prevent teen pregnancy. Each girl had to find a mentor on their school’s staff, and when asked what she thought of this, the girl said, “You know, it’s nice to have your parents tell you things and to work with you, but sometimes you need a second opinion.”
And sometimes showing up is all it takes. “You don’t have to be experts to be leaders in your children’s future,” said Powell. “You just have to be a caring adult and always be there.”